IAMWARFACE Release a Ghoulish & Brilliant Video for “Fear the Future”

IAMWARFACE new

Two weeks ago, one of my favorite British bands IAMWARFACE released their latest single “Fear the Future“, an outstanding song that speaks to the general dumbing down of society by media and our politicians, and the mind-controlling enslavement we allow them to foist upon us. The hard-hitting track delivers the signature bombastic instrumentals and electrifying vocals of front man Matt Warneford we’ve come to love from this amazing band. In addition Warneford, the band includes Lou Matthews (guitars), Tom Howe (DJ synth), Mike Smith (bass) and Adam Stanley (drums). You can read my review here.

Now they release a very dark and provocative video for the song that’s one of the more chilling I’ve seen in a long while, playing out like a scene from a horror film. The graphic and disturbing imagery is brilliantly filmed and executed, with some great computer-generated effects, and the creepy make-up of the demon figure is perfect. The video was written and produced by Warneford, and filmed by Yohan Forbes of Kumo Films, who co-directed it with Warneford. Editing was done by Forbes and Tom Howe, and the two actors are Dean Rose and Nick Foster.

The action takes place in a TV show played on an old portable television set, and portrays a man (Nick) coming home to his apartment from work, then creating yet another in a series of drawings he’s made of geometric shapes with colored felt pens. After he pins it to the wall, he goes to the bathroom to wash his face and hands, at which point a ghoulish demon appears behind him, though Nick cannot see him. Warneford explained the intended meaning he attempts to capture in the video:

So, you have Deanmon and Nick. They are both the same person, but Deanmon is the frustrated artistic part of Nick’s psyche, almost like he’s trying to warn Nick about all the shit he’s watching on the TV, the lifestyle he’s living, the general British yob* culture type stuff, beer drinking oik, etc. It’s also about mental health as well, as you could say that Deanmon is the sane part of Nick’s mind, and Nick has basically lost the plot. It’s kind of left up to the viewer to decide so it’s kind of ambiguous. Deanmon is getting more and more frustrated until he purges and gives up. Then the door knocks and it’s me standing there with an axe coming to finish the job. Also, that could be a metaphor for me coming along to take an axe to the banal music industry as it currently stands, but that’s a bit pretentious lol.”

Watch this incredible video and heed the warning at the beginning!

* ‘Yob culture’ is a slang term used in the UK, Australia and New Zealand to refer to a loutish, uncultured person, while ‘oik’ is a derogatory term for an uncouth person.

Connect with IAMWARFACE:  Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music:  Spotify / Soundcloud / Apple Music
Purchase on Bandcamp / iTunes

The Only Route [TOR] – Single Review: “Not Worth It”

The Only Route2

British alternative indie rock band The Only Route (also known as TOR) play some of the most exciting guitar-driven rock around, slicing through the airwaves with razor-sharp riffs, thunderous percussion and addictive melodies. Hailing from Lowestoft, England, TOR consists of Ryan Redwood (vocals, guitar), Robby Hodgey (lead guitar), Andy Kirk (bass) and Matty Larkman (drums). Since early 2017, they’ve released a series of terrific singles, the most recent of which was the scorching-hot “Made”, which I reviewed upon it’s release in January 2018. Now they return with a powerhouse new single “Not Worth It“, which drops today.

The song is a giant kiss-off to someone who’s exhausted everyone’s patience. To drive home their point, the guys lay down aggressive riffs of gnarly guitars, anchored by a pulsating bass line and pummeling drumbeats. They’re all excellent musicians who are quite skilled with their respective instruments. The interplay between Robby and Ryan’s guitars and Andy’s bass in the bridge is fantastic, and to my ears channels a bit of a Jack White vibe from both a melodic and technical standpoint. I love Ryan’s distinctive rapid-fire vocals and strong accent as he chastises the trouble-making jerk: “We all know you by now. You’re just causing shit. You’re not worth it! You’re definitely not worth it, mate!

“Not Worth It” is a great song, and another in a series of strong singles from this talented young band.

 

The band has a busy tour schedule in the coming week, and those of you in the UK can catch them at one of these shows:

TOR March Tour

Connect with TOR:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music:  Spotify / Apple Music / Google Play
Purchase on iTunes

SECRET AMERICAN – Album Review: “Warmth & Shelter”

Secret American album art

Sometimes you just want to hear music that makes you feel good, am I right? Well, that’s exactly what you get with the aptly titled Warmth & Shelter, an absolutely delightful album from the band Secret American. The album came out in May 2018, but I only recently learned about it from fellow music blogger Tina Romano, who wrote a wonderful review for the blog Niche-Appeal.com, and recommended that I give this band a listen. Well, I have to say that it’s one of the most enjoyable albums I’ve heard in a long time. I’m sorry I never heard this album in 2018, because I’d easily rank it among the best of that year.

Secret American’s refreshing sound is at once retro yet contemporary, unique yet familiar. While listening to the songs I kept wondering ‘who do they remind me of?’ Then it finally dawned on me that the carefree California pop-rock vibe of The Lovin’ Spoonful was the retro part, while the contemporary side evokes the laid-back grooves of Cage the Elephant. While their song lyrics often address serious subjects that require a bit of thinking, they’re presented with sunny melodies, breezy instrumentation and pleasing vocals that make for happy listening experience. The songs are infectiously catchy without hitting you over the head, slowly boring themselves into your brain, but in a very good way. When I first listened to Warmth & Shelter, I thought ‘these songs are nice’. On the second listen, I thought ‘this is a really good album’. By the third spin, it was ‘I fucking love this!’ and have been hooked ever since.

Born from the collaboration of singer/songwriter and guitarist Derek Krzywicki, who lives in the small town of Carpenteria on the California coast east of Santa Barbara, and his long-time friend Todd Mecaughey, a producer/engineer who lives in Philadelphia, Secret American is a bi-coastal band of sorts. Derek had written several songs after leaving the band Cheers Elephant, and reached out to Todd about helping bring them to life. Despite their distance, they began working together on music fairly regularly for over a year in Philadelphia, as well as collaborating through the internet from their home studios, and eventually formed Secret American. Todd has stated that the name comes from them being simultaneously proud and ashamed to be American (a sentiment I currently share). Using Derek’s songs, the two created their debut album Warmth & Shelter. For the recording of the tracks, Derek played guitar, bass and sang vocals, Todd played drums, Kevin Killen played pedal steel, and Katie Frank played keyboards. Todd also engineered and produced the album. Along with those four, three additional musicians – Tony Unander, Alex Baranowski and Rory Geoghegan – were enlisted to complete the lineup for live performances.

Secret American2

The album kicks off with the title track “Warmth & Shelter“, a sweet tune about making a life in the country with your beloved, knowing there will be rough spots, but that everything will be alright: “Oh my dear, I wish to lead a Countried life. Hard work low wages. But these days, they lie ahead of us just out of reach. We’re making changes. I’ll hold the book you’ll turn the pages. Take what we want, take what we need, this little home, this dog we feed. This land of ours it’s all we need. Give me warmth and shelter, heart as well to count, count, count, on me.” The twangy guitars, cheerful synths and bouncy drumbeats are sublime, and Derek’s falsetto vocals, backed by his and Katie’s smooth harmonies, are sheer delight.

I don’t usually include so many videos in my reviews, but the band has produced highly entertaining ones for several of the album’s songs that are worth sharing. Feel free to watch them (or not). This one for “Warmth & Shelter” beautifully showcases Derek’s strong charisma and playful spirit.

Speaking of charisma and playfulness, Derek has it in spades on the charming and droll video for “Bang Bang“. He states in the video notes that it was made “to explain some of the choreography for their first band practice. It is now our default music video.” Honestly, how can you not love this guy? The song has a soulful Americana vibe, and is catchy as hell, with a delightful mix of jangly electric and twangy slide guitars, accompanied by a gently galloping beat. Derek’s vocals are quirky as he croons the humorous lyrics that speak to sexual desire:  “I’m a standing tall and ready, not a man in disguise. I want you to blow my head out, right between the eyes. Sooner or later, like it or not. Tie yourself together and I’ll undue your knot. Send me your love on that ball and chain.”

Why Believe?” speaks to the current state of political, economic and environmental upheaval. The song’s bubbly instrumentals and vocals sharply contrast with the darker lyrics about trying to avoid becoming totally cynical or hopeless in the face of challenges on multiple fronts: “The hotter the hotter the deeper the water. I think it’s time for a swim. Shame to the shameful, blame to the blameful for frying their lies in a pan. Why Believe? I can’t believe myself. Too poor to retire, too young die.”

The great tracks keep coming as the album continues, each flowing beautifully into the next. “Good Men Change” addresses the impermanence of life and not always taking things at face value: “Bad men dream, good men lie. / Clocks go round, things unwind.” One of my favorite tracks is “Amen, California” an enthralling ode to Derek’s (and my) home state. The song is beautiful, with a languid tempo and smooth instrumentals that evoke the blissful feels of a sunny day at the beach. Derek’s vocals are soothing and warm as he croons of the California state of mind: “Be free, like the fish in the sea. Let the waves crash on you, and be reborn in California.” The track sounds like a live recording, with street noise and children’s voices heard in the background.

Another favorite is the joyful love song “I Wanna Know“. If this song doesn’t make you feel good, then I don’t know what will! The simple lyrics ask the object of his desire if they share the feelings he has for them: “I wanna know who’s side you’re on. I wanna know you completely and turn on your TV and put your records on.” Much to the band’s surprise and delight, the song was featured in the premier episode of the YouTube original TV show Weird City, produced by Jordan Peele and Charlie Sanders (which you can watch by clicking on this link). The video for the track, which was filmed on location in Philadelphia and edited by band member Tony Unander, is also a pleasure to watch.

Chelsea the Cat” is a wonderful slice of Americana confection, with some tasty guitar work, while the funky “Wish A Well” really channels Cage the Elephant. In fact, Derek’s vocals sound a lot like Matt Shultz on this track. Yet another favorite of mine is “Human“, one of the most interesting tracks on the album from a musical standpoint. The melody is mesmerizing and beautiful, with sort of a sped-up and modified ska beat, and the intricate, layered guitars and lush, exotic synths are gorgeous. Derek’s slightly echoed vocals are captivating as he sings of what it means to be a human, rather than a certain race, nationality or type: “I’m a human, I’m not labeled on the shelf. / So long being a stranger. Wearing the name that they gave ya.” The lyrics eventually recite the first few verses of the National Anthem, delivered in a completely different way that seems to lend the words new meaning.

Closing out the album is “Magnolia“, a pleasant lo-fi instrumental that opens with a sweet acoustic guitar riff and gentle synth beat that’s eventually joined by a simple organ riff that lends a bit of a carnival vibe. Halfway through, a lovely chiming guitar enters along with a string synth chord, and the result is pure bliss. The instrumentals fade as the song comes to an end, leaving us with just a few discordant notes of acoustic guitar.

I cannot gush enough about this marvelous album and band! Secret American is a group of incredibly creative and talented musicians, and they deserve to be big. I really love their sound and style, and hope they’ll soon make more of their incredible music for us to enjoy. Those of you fortunate to live in the Philadelphia area can catch them at their upcoming show on March 29th at Underground Arts in Philadelphia.

Connect with Secret American on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music on Spotify / Soundcloud / Apple Music
Purchase on Bandcamp / iTunes

MORNING FUZZ – Single Review: “I’ll Be Around”

Morning Fuzz I'll Be Around

As I mentioned in a recent review, so many artists and bands that I’ve previously featured on this blog seem to be releasing new music in 2019, and another is Morning Fuzz, an outstanding rock band from Brooklyn, New York. Nearly two years ago, in April 2017, I reviewed their fantastic hard-hitting single “Silent Sun” (which you can read here). They subsequently dropped a great rock ballad “Fellow Creep” that December, and I’m thrilled they’re back with a new single “I’ll Be Around“, which drops today.

The band has been around for 10 years now, and has released a fair number of excellent recordings, including two EPs, a 2013 album Chasing Ghosts, and several singles. Formed in 2009 by singer/songwriter & guitarist Frank Fussa and his childhood friend, bassist Chris Johanidesz after the breakup of their previous band Ultra High Frequency, Morning Fuzz was later joined by longtime friend and guitarist Michael Cullari, but has been hampered by several changes in drummers (something that’s plagued several other bands I’ve written about). In Spring, 2018, new drummer Dan Leo came on board, putting them back on track and in the studio recording new music. “I’ll Be Around” is their first single on what will be their forthcoming album that the band hopes to release later in the year. It was expertly produced and mixed by Lou Giordano, and engineered by Frank, Aaron Bastinelli, and Benny Grotto.

It’s an exuberant, upbeat song, filled with the dynamic riffs, tight rhythms and melodic grooves we’ve come to expect from Morning Fuzz. Frank and Michael’s intricate guitar work is impressive, and I love how they make them chime in the bridge. Chris drives the song forward with his deep, strutting bass line while Dan deftly keeps the beat on his drum kit. Frank possesses a beautiful and powerful singing voice with considerable range, and sounds fantastic whether he’s crooning or wailing. One of the most striking aspects of the track is the guys’ sublime four-part harmonies that call to mind the Beatles or Beach Boys. I really love their sound, and found myself loving this song more with each listen. “I’ll Be Around” is superb, and I’m excited about hearing more new songs from them.

The lyrics seem to speak of the struggles we face with regard to making choices about which paths to take in life, and both giving and getting love and support from others through good times and bad along the way.

I’ll be around
Even in that crazy part of town
And I’ll figure out
Even when the rain is pouring down
We’ll work it out
When there’s not a drop of love to be found
Don’t run away
No hide and seek, no roads to stray

Which way to go 
Another fork splits up the road 
Futures untold 
Get on my side 
And we will float above the tide 
Might not make it through the night 
But it’s alright

Their song premiered on Thresher TV with a wonderful video of the band performing their song in Frank’s basement studio. Their natural charisma and joy of playing music is clearly evident. He also speaks a bit about how they started out writing and playing songs way back in 1999, and of his love for making music. Take a look:

Morning Fuzz has an upcoming show on Saturday, March 30 with Flak Jacket at The Rail in Smithtown, NY

Connect with Morning Fuzz:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music:  Soundcloud / Spotify /  YouTube
Purchase it:  iTunes / Bandcamp

DRAFT EVADER – EP Review: “Cashed”

Draft Evader Cashed

Draft Evader is an earnest and talented young musician from Chicago who I’ve been following for a while, and it’s been gratifying to watch him grow and mature as an artist. An interesting name for the music project of singer/songwriter and guitarist Ryan Loree, Draft Evader aptly describes his independent and rebellious nature. I first featured him on this blog in December 2017 when I reviewed his single “The Devil’s Disguise”, and at the time he explained “the name ‘Draft Evader’ is kind of a middle finger to the whole system, like ‘you can’t tell me what to do.’ So in a sense it means freedom. Freedom to be who you are and do what you love, no matter what anyone says.

Draft Evader plays a dynamic and accessible style of what he calls “pessimistic punk rock”, with rock’n’roll and grunge overtones. He writes all his songs, plays guitar and sings all vocals, and his good friend Joe Scaletta plays bass and drums, as well as mixes and masters the tracks. His deeply personal lyrics are brutally honest and always relatable; he openly addresses his struggles with depression and self-doubt, something a fair number of musicians and others involved in the arts also experience (as does yours truly).

He released a great little EP Hound Dog in the fall of 2018, featuring four stellar tracks – one of which, “In My Mind” was particularly outstanding. I loved the song so much it went all the way to #1 on my Weekly Top 30 last December. On February 12, he dropped a new two-song EP Cashed – a double-sided single of sorts. Interestingly, both tracks are 2:36 minutes long. Cashed was inspired by Ryan’s involvement in a car accident: “Ever get into a car accident during an existential crisis only to lose your job right after? Me too, and I wrote a couple songs about it.”

On the hard-rocking title track “Cashed“, he candidly speaks of depression and self-destructive behavior that often leads to additional problems, contributing to a cycle of ever deeper depression. Yet he also yearns for comfort and reassurance from a older and wiser voice. Ryan’s an impressive guitarist, and he delivers an onslaught of gnarly riffs from the get-go, driving home the seriousness of the subject matter. His scorching little guitar solo in the bridge was written by fellow musician Martijn Frazer, and I love his soaring vocals in the chorus. In fact, Ryan’s vocals have really improved with time and experience, and here he beautifully conveys the frustration and anger expressed in the biting lyrics:

Cashed my check to fill my tank up
Slow down over one more speed bump
Blowing stop signs with no license
Crash my car then stepped in dog shit
Covered in shitty ink
What would my grandma think
Kill for an old-school opinion
Pickin’ up missing teeth until my knuckles bleed
Falling deeper into a depression

On “Sunnyside“, he addresses the self-doubt about his music that sometimes plagues him. He released an EP Heel Turn in April 2018 (a very respectable effort that I also reviewed) but being a perfectionist, Ryan wasn’t satisfied with the songs or EP artwork. He incorporates the EP and song titles in the opening verse of “Sunnyside”, describing his struggle with self-confidence and feelings of not belonging:

Heel turn, I’m on a warpath
If I stutter more, I’ll complain less
All I have are some petty songs
Trying to write out all my wrongs

And I think I died in the old world
Because here I just don’t belong
And I left my soul in the old world
Behind yellow bars and heineken

Once again, he lays down chugging riffs of gritty guitar, while Joe handles the rhythm section with skilled precision. Both tracks are excellent, with catchy melodies that immediately hook us in, and driving riffs to keep us in thrall while we enjoy the ride. It’s a testament to Draft Evader’s continuing growth and ability to put out terrific rock music. I admire this young man and am happy to help promote him and his music however I can.

Connect with Draft Evader on Twitter / Instagram
Stream/purchase his music on Spotify and Bandcamp

THE FRONTIER – Single Review: “Dark Places”

The Frontier

The Frontier is an unsigned indie-pop/alt rock band from Vienna, Virginia (the Washington D.C. area). The band was formed in 2016 by singer/songwriter and guitarist Jake Mimikos, who first released an EP Chaos to Clarity as a solo artist in 2015. He initially called the band The Internal Frontier, and released a wonderful self-titled EP The Internal Frontier, which I reviewed in July 2016.

Like many bands, they’ve undergone some changes in line-up over time, and now consist of Jake on vocals & guitar, Eric Boggess on lead guitar, Eric Dolinger on bass, Kate Stanley on synths & vocals, and Eduardo Santana on drums. They changed their name to simply ‘The Frontier’, and released the terrific and upbeat singles “Young Machine” in late 2017 and “Follow This Feeling” in May 2018. Now they return with a gorgeous new single “Dark Places“, the first single to be included on their forthcoming EP Luminescence, to be released later this year.

“Dark Places” is a stylistic departure for The Frontier, featuring a moodier, more synth-driven sound and I love it! As the title implies, the song is dark, but also quite beautiful, with a captivating vibe that immediately hooked me, compelling me to move to the sensual beat. The shimmering synths are exquisite, enveloping me in a dreamy soundscape I’m happy to remain trapped in. Subtle guitars, gentle bass and the perfect amount of crisp percussion complete the glorious instrumentals. Jake’s smooth, ardent vocals are enthralling, soaring into the higher octaves and sounding better than ever before. Kate’s backing harmonies are really wonderful too.

The lyrics speak to the internal struggles many of us experience with our darker side, and the attendant fears, anxieties, anger and even bad thoughts we must grapple with. Jake stated that they were inspired by a show he watched on Netflix about serial killers.

Maybe I’m just a little lost
Sometimes I lose myself in my obsessions
I’m just a victim of my thoughts
I’m only human, with imperfections

I’ve been to dark places in my mind
Seeing shadows in the night
It get’s a little lonely when I’m in dark places in my mind
Falling further from the light
It gets a little lonely when I’m in dark places

“Dark Places” is absolutely marvelous, and I’ve had it on repeat all morning. The Frontier have struck sonic gold with their first single on what I’m certain will be a fabulous album.

Connect with The Frontier on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music on Spotify / Soundcloud / Reverbnation
Purchase on Bandcamp / iTunes

IAMWARFACE – Single Review: “Fear the Future”

British electro-rock band IAMWARFACE can do no wrong when it comes to making music as far as I’m concerned. Based in Brighton and London, their aggressive name is a fitting metaphor for their bombastic high-energy, groove-based sound, and they rank high among my favorite UK bands. In addition to founder and frontman Matt Warneford, the band members include Lou Matthews (guitars), Tom Howe (DJ synth), Mike Smith (bass) and Adam Stanley (drums).

IAMWARFACE new
Photo by Caitlin Stokes

I first featured them on this blog in 2016 when they released their face-melting debut single “Say My Name”, then again in July 2018 with the release of the magnificent “Closer“. I loved both tracks so much that they peaked at #1 on my Weekly Top 30, and “Say My Name” placed at #14 on my Top 100 Songs of 2016, and “Closer” at #8 on my Top 100 Songs of 2018. They now return with another incredible, hard-hitting single “Fear the Future“, providing further proof (as if any is needed) that these guys are phenomenal musicians.

The song launches with Adam’s smashing drumbeats, Tom’s grinding synths and Lou’s jagged riffs, all hallmarks of the band’s signature electrifying sound. As the track progresses, layers of sparkling industrial synths and jangly guitar are added to the mix while Mike lays down a pulsating bass line that drives the song forward. Matt has a powerful, resonant singing voice, and he raises adrenaline levels here with his arresting, passionate vocals that soar to the heavens in the chorus as the instrumentals reach a spine-tingling crescendo.

The biting lyrics seem to address the bullshit and fear-mongering being fed to the masses in a pernicious attempt to dumb-down and divide us, thereby allowing us to be controlled.

It’s all in the news 
The act is done
They’ve got us all and alone
Praise the lord
Cheat us all
Its televised
Another fear

Its all i hear
It gives me the creeps

I fear the Future
Wont you take me with ya
Aw come on come on now

High five
Where are we now
Cheap seats the end of the world
And free lies
The Bubblegum shit
Closes eyes dreams of England

IAMWARFACE have another massive hit on their hands with “Fear the Future”. While they may fear the future with regard to the current fucked-up sociopolitical state of things, they needn’t fear for their future as a band on an straight upward trajectory.

Connect with IAMWARFACE:  Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music:  Spotify / Soundcloud / Apple Music
Purchase on Bandcamp / iTunes

SHIPS HAVE SAILED – Single Review: “Escape”

Ships Have Sailed

I’ve followed Los Angeles duo Ships Have Sailed on Twitter for a couple of years, but have somehow neglected featuring them on this blog. I’m now remedying that sad situation, as they’ve just released a beautiful and deeply moving new single “Escape“, and I love it. Ships Have Sailed is the brainchild of vocalist/guitarist Will Carpenter, and after collaborating with a number of fellow musicians starting around 2012, the lineup now permanently includes drummer Art Andranikyan. They play a pleasing and infectious style of pop-rock characterized by memorable melodies and thoughtful, uplifting lyrics. I had the pleasure of meeting Will last year in Los Angeles, and his gentle kindness comes through in his sublime vocals.

Ships Have Sailed released their debut EP Someday in 2013, and followed two years later with Moodswings. They also released a few EPs between 2015 and 2017 that featured remixes or acoustic versions of previously recorded songs. More recently, they dropped two stellar singles – “Up” in 2017 and “Let’s Just Dance” in 2018, along with some great remixes for both. Their latest effort is “Escape”, which dropped on February 22nd, and I think it’s one of their best songs yet.

From the moment we hear the opening guitar chords and delicate synths, we’re enveloped by a warm and heavenly soundscape. Then Will’s soft, comforting vocals enter the mix, and it’s pure bliss. He has a beautiful voice that melds perfectly with the gentle instrumentals. The music intensifies in the third verse as Art’s crashing cymbals and assertive drumbeats bring drama to the track. Will’s vocals rise to the occasion, becoming raw and impassioned, raising goosebumps on the back of my neck.

The song speaks to a person struggling with personal demons and addiction. About the inspiration behind the song, Will explains: “Everyone has struggled. Born as the stark expression of an especially trying year, ‘Escape’ represents a shift from what we’ve become best known for, exposing a more vulnerable angle. It represents musical honesty in its most raw form, and we truly hope it makes you feel something.

So you stumble through the world run against the grain…
There’s a demon in your mind with a boiling rage…
Screaming at the sky do you feel insane? Someone better hold you down.
Someone better figure you out…
Someone better hold you down…
Get off this ride…

If you look into the sky can you feel the rain?
Does the needle in your arm take away the pain?
Do you wonder if you’ll ever find a home again…
beyond this cheap escape…my friend.

The powerful and stunning video shows scenes of Will and Art performing the song, alternating with scenes of a young man experiencing emotional turmoil. Filmed in and around Los Angeles, it was directed by Michael Easterling & Jaala Ruffman of Talkboy TV, and produced by Ruffman. The cinematography was done by David Parks, and the actors are Caleb Thomas, Zarah Ruffman & Clarity Ruffman.

To learn more about Ships Have Sailed, check out their Website

Connect with them on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music on Spotify / Soundcloud / Apple Music
Purchase on iTunes  / Google Play

MOROSITY – Single Review: “Time”

Morosity Time

Morosity is an unusual band with a unique genre-bending sound like no other I’ve heard. Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Morosity is comprised of front man Jesse Albrecht (Lead Vocals/Guitar), Sean Bachinski (Bass), Jason Wolfe (Violin, Guitar, Mandolin), and Nick Johnson (Drums). They meld progressive rock with folk, dark wave, psychedelia, Middle Eastern and even tribal influences to create an exotic sound that’s captivating, haunting and always mind-blowing.

They released their ambitious debut album Misanthrope in 2011 to wide acclaim, and after a six-year span, followed up with the magnificent Low Tide, which I reviewed. In May 2018, they released a darkly beautiful single “Defend“, which I also reviewed, and now return to grace our ears with a stunning new single “Time“, which drops today.

Wow, this phenomenal track is loaded with moody, atmospheric vibes and gorgeous instrumentation that make for a mesmerizing listening experience (all of their songs are, really). The intricately-strummed acoustic and electric guitars are exquisite, and Albrecht’s captivating echoed vocals run the gamut from seductive to chilling, keeping our rapt attention. Everything eventually builds to a crescendo, climaxed with otherworldly synths and eerie vocal chanting in the chorus that lends the track a dark, almost demonic aura.

The lyrics speak to the perplexities of time and the eternal unanswered questions mankind has pondered about it throughout our existence:

Time It’s in the stars above
Time The past and what’s to come
Time Exists infinity
Time An astral fantasy

Spinning round like hands
falling down the sand
you see the signs

Wondering if it ends
What’s the master plan
It’s Time Devine

Time It’s an illusion state
Time Lack of conclusion day
Time Controlling destiny
Time There’s no conspiracy

The more I seek the less I find
I can not see all Spectrum of light
Perception finite

The visually stunning and clever video was created by Albrecht and his wife Heather (who also created the amazing cover art of Father Time). It shows two toy figures representing a chicken and a rabbit encountering a host of characters and worlds as they travel through time and space. I love it!

Connect with Morosity:  Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music:  Spotify / Soundcloud
Purchase:  Bandcamp / Morosity Store / iTunes

GRAVITY CASTLE – Single Review: “I’ll Just Be Me”

I'll Just Be Me - Cover

Gravity Castle is the music project of Oliver Kersey and Gabriel Gledhill, and they just dropped a wonderful new single “I’ll Just Be Me“. The duo are seasoned musicians and multi-instrumentalists based in Provo, Utah. Prior to joining forces, each was independently involved in music for more than a decade, and between the two of them play more than 10 instruments.  Oliver, who’s originally from England and moved from London to Utah with his fiancé in 2012, met Gabriel while he was performing with another artist at a cafe in Provo one night, but nothing clicked between them.

A few years later they reconnected, and by that time, Oliver was performing as Oli K. Gabriel and two other musicians joined Oliver, and Oli K became a band. Unfortunately, people kept getting their name wrong, and the final straw came on the night of July 4, 2016 when the band was performing at a festival in Ogden. The PA announcement of the festival activities, which was on a continuous loop, kept referring to their band as “Oil K”. Almost immediately afterward, the band was rechristened Salt Valley. They released an excellent EP Roots in 2017, and had a successful run, but two years later Oliver and Gabriel decided to split off as a duo, whereupon Gravity Castle was born in September 2018.

The two share a versatility for writing, recording, and producing all their music in their own, self-built home studio. They released their debut EP Beginnings in December 2018, featuring five beautiful tracks, and in January 2019, they released their first music video for one of the tracks “I’m Sorry.” They also launched their YouTube vlog series Gravity Files, where they discuss their music, songwriting tips, their approach to the music business, and more. Check it out, as well as their music videos, on their YouTube Channel. “I’ll Just Be Me” was released on February 20th.

It’s an upbeat pop-rock song with a message that it’s okay to be yourself, and not allow others’ expectations define who you are: “Sometimes I feel like I don’t fit all the roles I’m paired with. I redefine, I walk a line. Know I’m going nowhere. Biding my time with questions. It doesn’t take much to keep me laughing. This could go forever to figure out why I know I’m doing just fine.

Musically, the track is a vibrant soundscape of sparkling and spacey synths, accompanied by beautiful chiming guitar, subtle bass and a spirited parade of skittering drumbeats. Oliver’s resonant vocals are heartfelt and charming, and I really like Gabriel’s backing falsetto harmonies. The distorted refrain of “I’ll Just Be Me” adds interest to the track. Throw in the catchy melody, and it all makes for a delightful feel-good anthem.

Connect with Gravity Castle on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music on Spotify / Soundcloud / Apple Music
Purchase on iTunes / Amazon